It seems like ages since I've been on here, but I figured I'd go back to my "roots" esentially to go a place where other mom's shared my parenting beliefs to try and made a decision that I'm struggling with. I have 4 kiddos, 3rd and 1st grade girls and a ds who will be entering K next year along with a ds entering preschool 3's. I, my son who wil be 5 in May, was offered a spot in our school's all day Kindergarten (M-F 9-4, same hours as rest of elementary) and I initially turned it down. In our district we have to pay, in this case $4100, for all day and half day isn't fee based. You can add a couple days, up to all week actually, of a play based type class where they change teachers that is fee based. But our all day is with a certified teacher whom they stay with all day and a parapro. Half day would be with the K teacher, then on the days you selected other hours of esentially free play, social time, playground time and say crafts, they'd cross the hall and go in that room with that teacher.
Like I said, initially I turned all day down since my older girls just went half day and never even did the additional "kinderplus" option. All day would have been wayyy too much for them, but my son is a more mature almost 5 year old. He is big, outgoing, happy, kind, pays attention, listens etc. Hits all the boxes for him being able to "handle" all day K. He is a much different child than my girls who loved staying home with me, we loved our AM (we had PM K) outings to the coffee shop, library etc. And they had a ton of time to bond with each other. But my son when he is at home and I have to answer emails, or do the dishes or gather things for all the kids after school acivities, he is bored on his own. He plays with his younger brother and this will get easier and I know they will bond more as my youngest gets older. But he is used to the interaction of his older sibs and a lot of kids. The times when I can't fill in those low spots and have to get things done, he is bored, wants the tv on (which we don't do much of in this hours), picks fights with his brother. He can't seem to get in the groove of just using that time for himself and enjoying. He thrives on social interaction. Even when we do say several things in the day, if I come home for an hour to pick things up, he is still asking what is next.
So my question is, what should I be making this decision on? If i do 1/2 day I can regroup and arrange my days differently to make sure we are active before school and I feel very strongly that bonding time with his brother is priceless and they both would be missing out on that last year together before 1st grade. I also believe, and he loves school now (MWF 3 hours in the AM) comes out beaming and very happy but tired (no naps though), that leaving a touch of wanting it more is a good thing, instead of being drag down tired etc and maybe too tired to enjoy his many other activities, soccer etc. I value greatly too that time I can give him with me to reinforce a little more our values etc. before sending him off to so many different personalities. However the opportunity to put him in all day provides him strucuture etc and less down time to his day. More of a routine. But just not with me.
I've read the research until my head spins. It's equal on both side. I don't feel like I need him to be academically ahead etc, I just wonder if the structure will be better for him, or should i give him one more year to bond with his brother and keep him at home. I can also add a couple days of the extra day for the social part so he's getting the best of both worlds. Also the teachers are phenomenal, I simply adore the all day teacher he'd have, she was my oldest dd's and it's hard to not let him have that opportunity since she warms my heart and is such a good person. but the 1/2 day teacher we havne't had before but is also a great person and the kids love. How do i make my decision? He is up for anything and willing to try anything. I kind of feel like I'd love for him to have all day and kind of find myself discounting my part in who he has become but my dh says I shouldn't, I'm who he wants to spend his day with and I'm going to regret pushign the "easy" button so to speak. I've never done that, I've always toughed it out to give the kiddos what they need. I feel I'd be stopping short. Today I had my mind made up to choose 1/2 day, then right before I wanted to send the email we saw the all day K teacher and I hate to not choose her for him.
How should I make my decision? Oh and we'll be digging into his college $ to come up with the cash, it's not something we want to do but felt like maybe he needs it? What should we do?
thanks for reading soooo far!